|Memorial, St. John Berchmanns,
Psalm 96:10, 11-12, 13
Every year at this time we hear the stories of the cosmic "stuff" hitting the cosmic fan. I don't like it much. I'd rather keep my own little world going along nicely with as few interruptions and inconveniences as possible.
That's when I recall my favorite quote. It's from Hans-Georg Gadamer and I believe it comes from Truth and Method. My notes are in a file and my memory's fuzzy, but I do remember what he said: "Experience, if it deserves the name, means multi-sided disillusionment of expectation."
Yikes! That's as tough a saying as what we hear in the scriptures today.
One of the choices I believe we face these days is whether to orient all our concern to the "end of the world" that both Revelation and Luke seem to speak about, or whether to notice that our own little worlds are meant to end in favor of the Kingdom.
There's one little word in the Lucan passage that makes me think that this passage is about the ending of "worlds" and not THE world. It's famine. "There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky." What an odd thing to show up in this list.
Consider, though, the parable of the Prodigal Son: when he had gone through his father's inheritance with reckless living, he was broke. Just then, famine came to that land and he was hungry. He hired himself out to take care of the pigs. Then, "he came to himself and said..." Famine precedes conversion.
It seems to me that the gospel passage, and the one in Revelation, actually, is about the call to conversion. Only, this call comes as a two-by-four to the head. Yikes! It's about "multi-sided disillusionment of expectation." My own little world is not the center of the universe. But, its disillusion points me to the Reign of God, hopefully.
Now this is all too neat and tidy. Worlds don't end with much else but a struggle, a desperate clinging to "the way things were." But, they do end. Ouch.
What a strange thing to celebrate. Yikes!
Let us pray that God's Reign may end the worlds of violence and oppression.
Let us pray that God's Reign may (gulp!) end our small worlds in favor
of the great Kingdom.
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